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Monday Morning Hangover: What’s next for Kevin Lee after submission loss to Charles Oliveira at UFC Brasilia?

Another weekend of combat sports has come and gone, as UFC Fight Night 170 went down last Saturday night (March 14, 2020) in Brasilia, Brazil. Though it didn’t exactly blow the roof off Nilson Nelson Gymnasium — the crowd was non-existent due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, it made the ESPN+-streamed event (which also aired on ESPN) the only show in town.

Still, there were plenty of fighters left feeling the post-fight blues, including Demian Maia, who was knocked out by Gilbert Burns in the co-headlining act (see it again here). And Johnny Walker, who suffered his second straight loss after getting out-worked by Nikita Krylov (recap here).

But, which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now a few days removed from the show?

Kevin Lee.

Coming into his headlining bout against Charles Oliveira, Lee was riding high on confidence after snapping his losing streak with an emphatic knockout over the previously-unbeaten Gregor Gillespie at UFC 244 (full fight here). In his way, however, was the scorching-hot Oliveira, who was coming in with a highly-impressive six-fight win streak, having not tasted defeat since mid-2018.

Lee started off on the wrong foot after missing wight by 2.5 pounds. That said, he was quick to blame himself for being “unprofessional,” and then to fork over part of his purse to Oliveira.

Once fight night rolled around, Oliveira quickly took the action to the ground, and with good reason, as he had scored four submission in his previous six victories. The first round was a bit tough for Lee, who had to fight off several submission attempts from “Do Bronx.”

In round two, Oliveira decided to let the action play out on the feet to show that he is more than a one-trick pony. And he did just that, mixing up his kicks and punches pretty well, giving Lee yet a few more things to worry about. Lee did enjoy a few shining moments after mounting “Do Bronx” and inflicting a little bit of damage.

Then in round three, Lee came out aggressive by throwing some haymakers knowing good and well he was down in the fight. But in a split second, “The Motown Phenom” made a costly mistake, going in for a takedown after catching one of Oliveira’s kicks. And that’s all it took for the jiu-jitsu ace to clamp in a guillotine choke to force the tap.

As for what’s next for “The Motown Phenom,” that’s a bit unclear at the moment, as he stated after his loss that he could pull a Nate Diaz and bounce from the fight game for an extended minute.

“I think lightweight’s still my home,” he said. “I’ve just got to fine-tune some things. But I’m going to take a long time. I kind of rushed into this fight. It’ll probably be a good minute before you see me again.

“I think I’ve got to evaluate some things,” he added. “I felt like my camp was great. My coaches told me all the right things to do. I abandoned it, it’s all on me on this one. So it’s going to be maybe a few years or so.”

Despite the loss, Lee is still an entertaining and dangerous foe, so perhaps his self-imposed hiatus could be what he needs to get it all together again and to return to his old winnings ways.

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